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New member

Posted by CCC888 on Sep 17, 2020 2:50 am

Finally have some understanding of the infrastructure of this site. The 1st level is the "Discussion" and "Group". The 2nd level is  Categories  (ie. Introduce Yourself, Cancer type...) under the "Discussion" and Titles under the "Group". The 3rd level is Topics which allows members to add and post. 😁
I live in B.C. My first diagnosis of breast cancer was in 2011. The mammogram in Oct 2010 was clear. Felt a 1 cm size lump in my right breast in Dec (around Christmas). Went to a walk in clinic and was told it was a cyst which should be automatically absorbed by my body. In Mar 2011, felt the lump was growing (~1.5 in by touching) and went to see my family Dr. He checked both of my breast and my armpits then sent me for an ultrasound. Immediate after the ultrasound I was told to go next door and had a biopsy on the same day. Thought no call was good news, called my family Dr after 2 weeks and was told the result was positive, 😱 He should call me once he received the report but he overlooked.!!! Right breast mastectomy after 3 weeks. 5.5 cm in size,   Stage 3A, triple positive, 8 out of 18 lymph nodes were affected. Took 1 whole month to recover. THEN AFTER my family Dr referred me to the cancer center. ??Something wrong?? Should he refer me to cancer center at the beginning before surgery?? My onco told me I had a dense breast and so the tumor was not seen in the last mammogram. My understanding from a UK based forum, UK has started to indicate dense breast if so in the mammogram report 2 years ago.
In 2018, 7 years after my primary diagnosis, I put everything behind. I stopped taking Tamoxifen myself and instead took high dose bee propolis as a hope to sort out  my blood sugar level problem. (I am type II diabetics). In just one month, had to see my family Dr due to feeling sick and consistent shoulder pain. After all the scans, I was diagnosed SBC with met in sternum (shrunk and is healing) , lung &  abdominal lining (disappear up to now after 8 cycles of chemo), possibly liver (Unidentified. onco swing between benign-could be there since birth and cancerous-shrunk with chemo), I am now on Herceptin and Purjeta + Letrozole and Zolendronic acid The 2 liver lesions are closely monitored.
Hope a trip of 13 hours flight to my born place next year after COVID but worry about the aches and pain due to Letrozole and also the travel insurance..  

Re: New member

Posted by cancertakesflight on Sep 17, 2020 7:43 am

CCC888‍ welcome to the site. Your story has a lot of similarities to my story. Like you i was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Because of my dense breasts it took many many tests to figure out I had breast cancer. Like you I saw my surgeon first and then saww my oncologist. Not all women have surgery first so the order of things can be different. 

Unfortunely there are many women on this site with a delayed diagnosis because of dense breasts. In fact dense breast make it more likely to develop breast and then harder to detect. Your point aboit your breast density is a good one and Dense Breasts Canada is working on getting that breast density included on your mammogram results. Sometime the breast density is shared with the doctor and then the information is not passed on the you. It is not the same in all provinces. Some provinces only report certain levels of breast density. You may want to check out their site. There are petitions and letters to write.

As for every symptom making you wonder what's next with your cancer you are also not alone. If you search the site with the names of your medications to find other people with your symptoms and how theyanage them. 

Runner Girl‍  ashcon‍ are two of many who have some aspect of their story that applies to you. 

Where is it you want to travel to next year? It's always great to learn about the people on this site becauae we are people first and cancer patients second.

Laughter is a lifestyle choice. www.laughterandcancer.com/blog

Re: New member

Posted by Runner Girl on Sep 17, 2020 8:48 am

Hello CCC888‍ ,

I too have dense breast tissue, but was not told so by anyone until I asked the ultrasound technician during my follow up ultrasound.  She advised I was a category D - the worst.

In March 2018 my GP found 2 lumps at the bottom of my right breast, he sent me for a diagnostic mammogram.  When I called to book the mammogram the woman doing the booking also booked me for an ultrasound.  This ultrasound found 3 small tumors and no lymph node involvement, they shipped me off for biopsy.  On May 7th, 2018 I received the diagnosis from my GP. Who opened by telling me I was having a really bad year (my mom had died in January).  I had cancer he said.  I was immediately shocked, then angry.  I asked him if I was going to die and when he started spouting about percentages, etc. I told him those didn't apply to me, that I was going to beat this and he best line up my action plan immediately.  On May 15th I met the surgeon and made the choice to go with a lumpectomy, figuring it was the least invasive choice and if a full mastectomy was required we could go there later.  On May 23 I had my surgery.  I next saw the surgeon the 3rd week in June and received the pathology - invasive ductal carcinoma,  ER+, PR- and HER2+.  Mid-July I met the oncologist and on July 31 I had my first chemo.  In total I did 6 rounds of chemo and 17 rounds of Herceptin.  When I met the radiation oncologist he advised that my margins were not to his liking and I was sent back to the surgeon to see if he would revise them with a second surgery.  My surgeon was dumbfounded with this request because the pathology report he had said margins were all clear.  So I showed him the report his nurse had given me where it clearly states they were too close.  He'd not seen this version of my report!  He declined a second surgery, saying I was too thin.  My radiation oncologist then recommended 16 rounds of full breast radiation and 5 rounds of boost radiation directed at the tumor bed. It was at my first mammogram and ultrasound after radiation that I asked the tech about my density status, having learned from this site about density and the issues around it.  I have been on Tamoxifen since December, 2018 and will be switched to Anastrozole this December following a bone density scan in November.  I have been able to manage the pain with acupuncture and magnesium supplements.

I am glad you are seeing good results with your treatment and hope you are able to get that trip in, if this Covid situation is ever resolved.

Runner Girl 
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: New member

Posted by ashcon on Sep 17, 2020 9:30 pm

Hi CCC888

I, too, had a late diagnosis because of dense breast tissue. You are right, it's important that more women and doctors in Canada become more involved in managing the risks of having dense tissue. 

You certainly have had quite the extensive experience with cancer. 
I am praying for you that your current meds keep the mets under control. 

Also praying that you do get that trip in! 
If it helps, I've heard of a few options for travel insurance for us cancer patients such as:
Goose Insurance. This is an app on your phone. It's a company out of Canada (Vancouver, in fact) and they do offer travel insurance for those who have previous or pre-existing cancer conditions.  They have received great reviews. 
Clear Compare.  I heard of them through Canadian Breast Cancer Network, but haven't checked them out myself. 
healthquotes.ca This site is apparently great for quotes and comparisons. 

Stay well, and stay focused on living. 🙂
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: New member

Posted by CCC888 on Sep 18, 2020 2:11 am

Hi cancertakesflight‍, Runner Girl‍ , ashcon‍ , thanks for your reply.
Hi ashcon‍ , thanks again for the insurance company list. It is very helpful.